from the Korean Army to being published

the blog of an "ex-patriot" writer in Korea

Entry #5-2: Dreams and Why I Write

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At the risk of sounding altogether cheesy, this is the first time in my life I can say I have a dream. It only took me 31 years to figure it out; I’ve always been a bit of a late bloomer. It’s tough luck that the dream is a hard one for someone like me (see Entry #2) to realize and even tougher considering that everyone with a blog and free time are flooding the market.

My reply to my student, via e-mail, was short, because I don’t like to work beyond my contractual obligations. The straightforward answer is that I learned to love writing while I was in the army. I couldn’t speak Korean when I started my service, and even when I finished two years later, I wasn’t very functional. I never yelled at my subordinates and not because of my generous nature. I just couldn’t express myself, which is strange because I was on the receiving end of it plenty.

I spent the majority of my spare time studying Korean in order to barely tread water in that horribly extreme instance of immersion language acquisition, but I also spent a good deal of that time reading novels and writing in my journals. English was my only companion.

Our relationship has been a strange one. I grew up hating her because she made my life difficult. She was incomprehensible at times and more often than not just downright cruel. When I went to college, I was no longer forced to spend time with her and was determined to make sure I wouldn’t have to. It wasn’t until my alienation in the army that I started to write to her. This time she responded. After spending two years in close quarters, I grew to love her.

That is why I write. It’s still a love-hate relationship, but now I’m old enough to know that every relationship is.

I am deeply grateful to my friends, who have been having discussions on my behalf although they only tell me their conclusions when they are drunk. One criticism for this blog was that I need to have a gimmick, a purpose for readers to return. It’s valid advice, but it’s not me. My life has been largely directionless, why should my blog be any better? I’m not there yet, but I want to make art, not craft.

Whether I will be successful, I hope you will stick around to find out.


Written by Young

April 17, 2010 at 5:10 pm

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